by Tracy Blanchard
An NPR article appeared in my Facebook feed recently about a Pew poll on religion and politics. After reading the article, I realized that I had participated over the phone in a beta version of this very poll in early August.
As I read the article, I was brought back to my experience responding to the poll’s questions; after I hung up the phone that day, I felt infuriated and depressed. My takeaway question was whether the polarization of opinions in the United States is as real as the media makes out, or whether it is, at least in part, a construct of polls like this one.
For a large majority of the questions asked of me by Pew, I was offered only black-and-white options from which to choose. For example, this NPR article primarily focuses on the poll question on religious institutions and whether or not they should be involved in politics.